I was recently recommended to check out the Farnam Street podcast with Naval Ravikant on twitter. In case you want to check it out, here is the link

By any standards, this was a great podcast where Naval discussed about different topics. I will capture here some of my key takeaways:

  1. Being in Present : One of the key ideas which struck me was Naval's emphasis of being in present and stopping the monkey mind. Instead of always thinking about what's going to happen in future or what has happened in the past, we should just focus on the task we are doing at present. If you are brushing your teeth, don't think about what will happen in a meeting today - rather just brush your teeth.

Though at first, it seems very counter-intutive, as I think about things that will happen in the day at such times when I don't need to pay much attention. But this prevents me from being in the moment, and may be it develops a habit to be always in the past or future - while what we truly, really have is the present. Children don't have this problem of being in their own head, they are always in present - and I think most of us will agree that children are happier than adults. After all, happiness is nothing but how we feel in our head, and if we stop thinking about bad things that happened in the past - or be anxious about things to happen in future - we are more likely to be at peace/happy.

This also reminds me of Miyamoto Musahi, who in his book The Book of Five Rings talks about being in the present. Although, he was a master swordsman who was never defeated in a sword fight, he said that he never made any strategy about how he will fight. He just practises his techniques, and fights in the moment. He says making prior strategies will make him vulnerable as the opponent can take advantage of his fixed strategies.

  1. Meaning of Life : Naval's answer on meaning of life is the one of the most rational I have found till date. He answers it in 3 parts.

    a. Meaning of life is personal - and its different to every person.

    b. There is no inherent meaning of life, and everyone creates their own meaning. Cause if there was a defined meaning of life, then there would be question around why THAT is the meaning of life. And may be having a given meaning of life, would have been a worse scenario.

c. Naval mentions another meaning of life around accelerating the heat death of the universe - as that is where the universe is heading according to the entropy argument. I guess this is not just for human, but for all living beings - though I am not quite sure. Also, it is a very depressing meaning of life :) I would delve deeper into this and may be would have a better understanding next time.

Overall, it is an awesome podcast. I realize that I have just touched upon 2 topics, and its already too long. If you are interested in any topics around reading, decision making and general philosophy on life, give this a shot.